‘Bat project’ takes to the wing thanks to Environment Service

A Leiser's bat on a piece of bark.
A Leiser's bat on a piece of bark.

Creggan Country Park has received funding from the NIEA Challenge Fund for a Province-wide bat project in 2013.

The Country Park was one of a number of environmental charities across Northern Ireland to receive a share of £125,000 from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to carry out projects between now and the end of March under the Challenge Fund for 2013. The Park received £5,400 for it’s ‘bat project’.

Karen Healy, Environmental Officer, Creggan Country Park said “We are delighted to receive £5,400 from the NIEA Challenge Fund for our ongoing bat project. Creggan Country Park is the North West base for the Northern Ireland Bat Group; from here we deliver talks and events to community groups and schools and during spring/summer months we launch a free helpline for people who find grounded bats.’ She adds “This project will allow us to deliver planting workshops to show people how to encourage bats to their garden by providing food sources for them. We will be working with Biodiversity Officers across Northern Ireland to deliver an event in each council area between January – March 2013. In February, we will launch a competition for the most bat friendly school gardens; there are lots of prizes to be won in each council area. We hope that through this project, people will recognise just how important bats are to biodiversity and our own wellbeing.”

Local schools are invited to Creggan Country Park on Friday 18th January to take part in a special event focusing on creating bat friendly school gardens.  There will be three slots on the day 10am, 11.15am and 1pm. Booking is essential as places are limited.  Contact our Environmental Officer on 028 7136 3133 or email Karen.healy@creggancountrypark.com

For more information visit www.creggancountrypark.com.

The Challenge Fund 2013 builds on the success of a pilot programme in 2012 in which NIEA challenged local environmental charities, community groups and schools to devise and deliver ‘oven ready’ projects on a very short timescale.

‘This year’s successful projects were among 112 applications received from 81 organisations that applied for funding under the initiative’ commented Sue Christie, representing Northern Ireland Environment Link which administers the fund on behalf of NIEA. She commented that from the response it is clear that ‘a relatively small amount of cash can enable volunteers to deliver great value. Now the work begins; all of these projects must be completed before the end of March 2013, so look out for lots of environmental action over the next few months!

The Judging Panel was greatly impressed by the quality of applications and is delighted that Minister Attwood and his staff have enabled this work to take place.’ The programme demonstrates the immediate demand for environmental projects; if the groups are able to fully deliver these projects it is hoped that a similar scheme may be available in future years.